Thursday, May 5, 2016

After We Fall - Marquita Valentine (Take the Fall #3)

Rating: 4 Stars
Published: April 26, 2016
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
ARC provided via Netgalley by Loveswept

Hunter Sloan can more than help the people he works with as a cop, he can sympathize. With his childhood in an abusive family behind him, he's centered his life around helping others. There's just one girl he can't forget, even with her broken spirit and painful bruises, she stood out to him. When new-to-town Evangeline moves in across the street he can't believe it's the same woman and he'd do anything to have her.
Evangeline wants nothing to do with relationships, especially after leaving her abusive ex behind, but she can't get the cop across the hall out of her mind. As she learns to live on her own again and find the strength inside her she finds that companionship in Hunter isn't as bad as she once thought. She's always wary though, about the darkness that could be inside, and the choices she must make are harder than she imagined they would be.

“There’s a fire in her eyes that I would love to get burned by.”

I pretty much swooned my way through this entire book. Marquita Valentine writes characters that you'll immediately sympathize with and a story line that's both heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. The Take the Fall series is known for having beautiful HEA's, but the process to get there in After We Fall is full of angst. I've never read a book and had so much hope for the characters, because I felt so much for them. Hunter is such a gentleman, his past forming him into a better person, and he's ever the optimist. Evangeline is beautiful, but broken, terrified of her ex, afraid to move on, and trapped in a cycle of pessimism. Together, though, these two even one another out and their chemistry is enough for both to put their pasts behind them in exchange for new beginnings. I loved both characters and how realistic they were as they dealt with their problems. Their chemistry is scorching hot and I love how they started out and what it morphed into. Plus, they happen to have the best friends ever and every interaction in this book was entertaining. I found myself laughing often, holding back tears repeatedly, and becoming an eternal optimist for both of the main characters to overcome their issues to be together.

“He’s not an impatient kisser, not at all. Hunter has a mouth made for sinning and the skills to make me want to skip dinner and go straight to dessert.”

While After We Fall is book 3 in the Take the Fall series it read a lot more like a standalone than I expected. There is more emphasis on the main characters and the single secondary characters than there are on the characters from the previous two novels. I loved the interactions the main characters had with the secondary characters, though at times they didn't feel conducive to moving the book along. While Evangeline and Hunter do have some serious chemistry, I wasn't expecting the instalove vibe I got. I felt like the abusive relationship Evangeline dealt with was almost forgotten for her personally about halfway through, unless she was being directly impacted by it. That said, I think everything the characters went through really lead to some great character development and story development, so my complaints didn't affect the overall read for me.

"I know what’s in your heart."

I was super impressed with After We Fall, I think Marquita Valentine handled the heavy topic of abuse very well and I loved the growth both characters go through. All of the characters had such personality and I will definitely be sticking around for Saylor's story, I love that nerdy girl!

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